Psychic Predator (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||It is said that the students of the mind are among the most dangerous; unalike our arcanists, our holy, our martial, they appear outwardly unremarkable and mundane. Like intellectual predators they camouflage themselves in plain sight.||”|
|—Talvaar the Silver Sage|
Psychic Predators are the manifestation of bestial will and primal instinct in the deepest, most complex regions of the mind - the undoing of domestication. Such a sudden deviation of brain power and capacity would cause devolution and decay in the greater mental facilities of most creatures, but to others it has a bizarre, yet pronounced effect...
Those of psionic talent slowly drift towards an inner, formerly obscured predatory disposition, and their natural manifestations begin to alter accordingly as wild, metaphysical transformation becomes streamlined and simplified to a degree unmatched; uncanny precognition - unadulterated animal instinct weaved within a sentient mind - seemingly grants them a sixth sense.
So unusual are such examples, for no matter how close they come to that animal within it not once reveals itself without their explicit manifestation.
Becoming a Psychic Predator
Those who become Psychic Predators are entirely predispositioned to; just as they were born into their innate psionic talent, they too were born with the nature of beasts bleeding into their mind, and despite their incredible mental talent as a psionic individual, the effects of their heritage will ultimately manifest at some point. The degrees to which a Psychic Predator's animalistic and killer nature evolve are as unclear as the specifics that cause such a deviation to transpire before birth in the first place.
While not all manifesters of psionic power find themselves at risk, those who are more likely to become Psychic Predators are individuals who are both physically and mentally talented, especially those with some innate knowledge of nature.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+4|
|Skills:||Concentration 5 ranks, Knowledge (Nature) 2 ranks, Survival 2 ranks|
|Psionics:||Must have a power point reserve of at least 1 power point and able to manifest Bite of the Wolf and Claws of the Beast.|
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+2||Savage Manifestation, Beast Mind||+1 level of existing manifesting class|
|2nd||+1||+3||+3||+3||Precognition, Animal Affinity, Contained Instinct||+1 level of existing manifesting class|
|3rd||+2||+3||+3||+3||Psychic Predation, True Scent||+1 level of existing manifesting class|
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Fierce Mind, Cloud Mind (3/day)||+1 level of existing manifesting class|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+4||Metaphysical Predator||+1 level of existing manifesting class|
|6th||+4||+5||+5||+5||Mind Slash||+1 level of existing manifesting class|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
All of the following are class features of the Psychic Predator.
Powers Known: Beginning at 1st level, a Psychic Predator gains additional power points per day and access to new powers as if she had also gained a level in whatever manifesting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (bonus feats, metapsionic or item creation feats, psicrystal special abilities, and so on). This essentially means that she adds the level of Psychic Predator to the level of whatever manifesting class the character has, then determines power points per day, powers known, and manifester level accordingly.
If a character had more than one manifesting class before she became a Psychic Predator, she must decide to which class she adds the new level of Psychic Predator to for the purpose of determining power points per day, powers known, and manifester level.
If the character did not belong to a manifesting class before taking this prestige class, she does not gain manifesting levels.
Savage Manifestation (Ex): Upon becoming a Psychic Predator, the manifester's talent with her psionic natural weapon powers become significantly more pronounced than they were previously.
The Psychic Predator permanently gains low-light vision in all forms even when she is not benefiting from Savage Manifestation, which occurs whenever she has both [i]Bite of the Wolf[/i] and [i]Claws of the Beast[/i] manifested together.
From this point on whenever she has both Bite of the Wolf and Claws of the Beast manifested at the same time, she gains the benefits of the Metaphysical Claw power for both of those powers. She does not need to know the Metaphysical Claw power to gain this benefit, and need not expend power points to gain its qualities when both of the listed powers are manifested together.
In effect, she learns the Metaphysical Claw power (and applies it to both previously listed manifestations) and may manifest it as a free and immediate action with no power point cost unless she wishes to augment (which each augmentation of Metaphysical Claw applies to both rather than just one at a time), only while the above conditions are met.
Her free additional manifestation of Metaphysical Claw when both Bite of the Wolf and Claws of the Beast are manifested is a psi-like ability with a manifester level equal to her chosen psionic class' manifester level.
Beast Mind (Ex): A Psychic Predator has an uncanny resilience to attacks against her mental faculties, and gains a +2 competence bonus on saving throws against all hostile compulsions and mind-affecting effects. This effect is always active, regardless of the Psychic Predator's awareness of it or not - even conditions like those of unconsciousness, stun, or helplessness do not remove this benefit.
Precognition (Ex): At the 2nd level a Psychic Predator has the near supernatural ability to anticipate danger - an animal sixth sense; an inkling of events to come which might have the hair on the back of her neck tingle, or her brow subtly twitch.
A Psychic Predator gains a +2 bonus on initiative checks, and can never be caught flat-footed at the start of combat.
She may, as an immediate action at the start of combat, manifest both her Bite of the Wolf and Claws of the Beast together at their combined power point cost (with appropriate augmentations if she so desires), provided she has the power points to do so. In the event one of these powers is already manifested she may still manifest the other as an immediate action at the start of combat with its normal power point cost (and augmentations if she opts to do so).
She may not, however, only choose to manifest one (and ignore the other) as an immediate action at the start of combat.
Animal Affinity (Ex): A 2nd level Psychic Predator has an abnormal affinity and ability to associate more easily with animals than most others of her race, for she feels an underlying empathetic connection between herself and such beasts.
A Psychic Predator gains Wild Empathy as a Druid, however she must decide if she wishes for her Wisdom, Charisma, or Intelligence score to determine its effectiveness. In addition to this selection, she must associate with a certain type of animal of which she gains the full benefit of this ability toward with no penalty; creatures which are not of a similar species as her chosen animal cause her to take a -4 penalty on the check.
For example, a Psychic Predator with Feline Affinity takes no penalty when utilizing her check with feline creatures, but when she attempts her check with reptiles, she takes a -4 to the check. She does, however, gain a +2 circumstance bonus for her Animal Affinity checks with animals or magical beasts who have the Psionic Subtype.
Unlike Wild Empathy, the Psychic Predator takes no penalty for using this ability with magical beasts so long as they are of similar species to the type of animal she has an affinity toward.
Animal Affinity qualifies the Psychic Predator for any requirement that specifies Wild Empathy.
Contained Instinct (Ex): As part of having attained her 2nd level a Psychic Predator finds that her killer nature, which lurks just beneath the surface of her mind, is actually as malleable as her own physical form. Using a portion of this animal cunning, she can focus her mind much more easily on a demanding mental task.
Psychic Predation (Su): At the 3rd level a Psychic Predator gains a mind sapping effect whenever she successfully makes an attack with one of her manifested natural weapons, drawing latent psychic energy from the victim for her own use.
When a Psychic Predator strikes a target with one of her manifested natural weapons (such as Claws of the Beast) it must make a Will save (DC 10 + damage caused by the attack) or suffer 1 point of Wisdom damage. As such, whenever a Psychic Predator deals Wisdom damage in this manner, she gains 1 power point to her reserve (unless that gain would cause her to exceed her maximum).
In the case of creatures with a power point reserve, the failed save also causes the creature to lose 1 power point; this damage to their power point reserve is healed once the creature successfully rests long enough to regain all its power points for the day.
When an attack by a Psychic Predator critically strikes and deals Wisdom damage through Psychic Predation, the benefit of Psychic Predation is doubled; in effect, it deals 2 points of Wisdom damage and awards 2 power points (stealing this amount from the victim if applicable).
Psychic Predation has no effect for the Psychic Predator if the target has no Wisdom score.
True Scent (Ex): A 3rd level Psychic Predator gains the extraordinary ability Scent, however this deviation is a heightened, nearly supernatural quality that allows the Psychic Predator additional benefits.
Whenever a Psychic Predator detects a creature through Scent, she immediately knows if it is capable of manifesting or if it has a power point reserve - she does not, however, immediately know any other additional qualities about the creature which Scent could not provide her. Along with these qualities, her Scent ability is never foiled by strong or overwhelming odors which would regularly mask other scents.
Fierce Mind (Ex): Upon reaching the 4th level, a Psychic Predator has such an innate tenacity and ferocity, that assaults on her mind are rebuked aggressively and violently, inflicting crippling pain on the intruder.
Beast Mind improves into Fierce Mind, granting her an additional +2 (for a total of +4) competence bonus on saving throws against all hostile compulsions and mind-affecting effects.
In addition to this progression, her Fierce Mind causes creatures who target her with such hostile effects to immediately suffer the Inflict Pain power as if it were manifested by her. Fierce Mind's Inflict Pain effect costs the Psychic Predator no power points to manifest, and triggers as a free action immediately once she is the target of such an effect. A Psychic Predator may, upon a creature triggering her Fierce Mind's manifestation, augment that power as normal at its regular cost.
Cloud Mind (Ps): A 4th level Psychic Predator may, three times per day, manifest the Cloud Mind power as a psi-like ability with a manifester level equal to her chosen psionic class' manifester level.
Metaphysical Predator (Su): A 5th level Psychic Predator's mind is now entirely unified with her new bestial powers, which have evolved and grown so greatly that she is almost a new creature altogether.
Whenever she opts to manifest her more animal side, and thus gains the benefits of Savage Manifestation, she may become more beast-like, growing fur and taking on a shape vaguely similar to a lycanthrope's hybrid form - or not at all, simply supernaturally striking her victims with unseen claws and fangs. If she does opt to take on a hybrid form, she takes on one which is related to her Animal Affinity; she may however, specify the minor qualities such as coloration of hair and eyes, stature and build, etc, but not greater qualities such as gender or causing her to grow or shrink into a new size category. These specifics, once chosen, are assumed every time she takes on her hybrid form, and can only be altered by a successful Psychic Reformation.
While benefiting from Savage Manifestation a Psychic Predator transforms herself into Metaphysical Predator.
As a Metaphysical Predator, the Psychic Predator benefits from Fast Healing 2, and her Strength and Constitution scores are increased by +4. All of her natural weapons are treated as psionically enhanced with ghost touch and the protective benefit of any Armor Class provided by the Inertial Armor she has (or manifests) is increased by +2, as if she had spent an additional 4 power points to augment it.
Any fear effect targeting the Psychic Predator while she is in her Metaphysical Predator state fails.
Mind Slash (Su): Having reached 6th level a Psychic Predator's killer nature has fully taken root within her mind; she is as much a beast of claw and fang as she is a power of the mind, and together she uses these feats to rend and rake not only flesh, but the lesser minds of her prey.
When a Psychic Predator strikes a creature with any of her manifested natural weapons and deals Wisdom damage, the target is shaken for 1 round.
Mind Slash's shaken effect does not stack with itself; additional applications cannot cause creatures to enter higher states of fear. It may, however, prolong advanced stages of fear, increasing their duration by one round.
Mind Slash is a mind-affecting ability.
Playing a Psychic Predator
A Psychic Predator is a culmination of incredible mental prowess and bestial persona; they are, in many ways, exceptionally talented, intelligent individuals with a calculated, and uncanny killer nature. If one would stop to posit for a moment, it would not be unreasonable to see a Psychic Predator as a sort of highly advanced animal with substantially more complex goals and ideals, as they are, for all intents and purposes, humanoid creatures with a psinoically enhanced bestial side. This assumption is not to say that they are unilaterally evil individuals, however - they are perfectly capable, unlike many lycanthropes, to exist in a civilized world without giving any inclination they are more than mortal beings.
Outwardly, and even while manifesting, Psychic Predators needn't behave unusually for their kind and can freely blend amongst their peers without raising any alarm. If they wish, however, they can easily manifest their feral qualities into reality, but even then these manifestations can range from the simple elongation of nails and psychokinetic bites to full-blown physical transformations resulting in hybrid animal forms. Such mastery over body and ability, a Psychic Predator can, to some extent, change who and what they become each time they manifest these qualities; many prefer to affiliate with one beast in particular over others.
Some Psychic Predators opt to instead delve into their animal nature and give up their otherwise previously normal lives, living as estranged beast-like individuals in the wild, associating with their favored animal.
Psychic Predators in the World
|“||If beasts truly knew the rush of ending sentient life, I fear we as mortals would be doomed - we have already seen what wrath of the moon brings with her, the vengeance of the wild itself, and the power of animal forms.||”|
|—Talvaar the Silver Sage|
In a world so diverse, Psychic Predators find their subtle quirks easily concealed - their hunger for fresh meat, abnormal senses, and abnormal reactionary ability, all of these traits blend into the normalcy of life undetected. It is a surprise, to many, to encounter individuals of psionic talent, for they often appear as mundane as any other common folk, and Psychic Predators specialize in this lack of suspicion; going about their lives as best they can without alerting those around them.
It is because of this, individuals unaware of a Psychic Predator's presence are often wholly without stigma toward them; at times the Psychic Predator may come off as a bit rough around the edges, maybe even lightly uncivilized, but rarely does it provoke inquiry. Revealed, however, Psychic Predators are frequently loathed, for they break the simplicity of life with their feral manifestations and animal qualities, and can be mistaken for lycanthropes if they prove to be reckless with their Metaphysical Predator qualities.
Psychic Predator Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Nature) or Knowledge (Psionics) can research Psychic Predators to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Psychic Predators are individuals of psionic talent who favor claw and fang over pure psionic power.|
|16||Just as they were born into their psionic power, Psychic Predators were born into their animal-like talents; it is a quality strictly inherited.|
|21||Those lacking in psionic power who would otherwise be Psychic Predators devolve into savages - their minds unable to cope with the primal forces within.|
|26||It is theorized that Psychic Predators are the result of the animal soul's influence on individuals of mental power prior to their birth, proving there is no domain beasts cannot sway.|